The challenges faced in life by first and second generation asian americans.

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The Similarities and Differences between Asian American Generations

There are many challenges that Asian American individuals face in the world, from the period of the1800's when the first wave of immigration began to appear in America, to the year of 2003 today. Each Asian American has the ability to tell a different story about their experiences as a minority in the United States. However, there remains a connection between the individuals of the minority group. And one of the greatest factors that continually proceeds to create differences between one Asian American and another is their generation of existence.

One of the most important things to first clarify is what an Asian American is. "A person is classified as an Asian American if they are an American of Asian or Pacific Islander ancestry" (Soc. Culture newsgroup). What determines whether or not they are first or second-generation, is that the immigrants are known as first-generation. The children of the immigrants are known as second-generation, and their children are known as third-generation. The pattern continues as Asian American people continue to reproduce. There is often a big cultural gap between the first-generation (who grew up overseas) and later generations (who grew up here). This is also topic of many pieces of Asian American literature. Often, language is lost somewhere between the first and third-generation, making it hard for the different generations to communicate with each other, which causes the gap to increase more and more.

"They work hard. They can inspire other people and themselves" (Cebrzynski). When the first generation Asian Americans began their lives in America, there were many different conclusions that people had decided upon about them, including this one. And there are few who would doubt it either. Entering a new country with a drive to begin a new and more successful life, the first-generation Asian Americans were willing to give all that they had to get where they dreamed to be. However, because the majority of them could not speak English, and were not use to American ways, many struggled with finding jobs and satisfying the Americans from the beginning. "The trouble is when they're new in the country, and they really hate it. That's when it's hard to be a good employee. They have difficulty in learning the structure of American restaurant operations and the regulations governing cleanliness, which are different from the standards for restaurants in Asia" (Cebrzynski). The first-generation Asian Americans are more driven in all that they do, although they face many difficulties in a strange new country.

There are also many challenges that face second-generation Asian Americans. However, there are many other things that face second-generation Asian Americans that should not be considered challenges, but rather new experiences unique only in America. One of the greatest of them all would be family. Between the members of an Asian American family, there often exists a gap of understanding due to several factors. These factors mainly revolve around assimilation. Because many second-generation Asian Americans have grown accustomed to the American customs and models, which are considered "normal", it often creates a direct conflict with the old Asian ways of thinking. When immigrant children arrive in the United States, they work hard and get good grades. Second-generation Americans are another matter. "Researchers in the United States have learned that, compared to the first generation, the second generation spend less time on homework, watch more TV, and get lower grades" (Frontiers 1996). Thus, it can be concluded that the second-generation Asian Americans are not as driven as the first-generation Asian Americans. However, because they have grown up in the American society and can speak the language and relate to the customs of today, it is less difficult for them to achieve in school, and succeed in a life closer to...
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